I was ill much of last week, which is my excuse for no new posts since last Monday. The illness started Tuesday morning (actually Monday evening) with my usual queasy stomach and inability to digest anything, continued with the sinus aches that often accompany the stomach problem, progressed into difficulty getting to sleep, then difficulty staying asleep, and eventually difficulty accepting the reality of having to awaken from a deep slumber.
Yes, I went to the doctor; yes, I have a whole new medication regimen. More on that in a separate post later this week.
With less than a hundred days remaining before the November election, the Texas Progressive Alliance's blog posts and related news took note of the temperature rising on statewide candidates and debates—or lack thereof.
PDiddie at Brains and Eggs watched as Ted Cruz suddenly flinched, probably at his sagging internal polling numbers, and acquiesced to five debates with his surging challenger, Beto O'Rourke.
Socratic Gadfly gives his snarky lowdown on the proposed Cruz-O'Rourke face-offs.
Justin Miller at the Texas Observer sees Democratic lieutenant gubernatorial candidate Mike Collier with a problem: Dan Patrick ain't taking his bait. The following excerpt reveals the reasons:
I don't usually copy the graphics from PDiddie's Weekly Wrangle along with the text. This time, I'm making an exception and grabbing the Ted Rall cartoon from the top.
Many of my highly intelligent friends accept—yea, even embrace—the scientific fact that gender is not strictly binary in humans and other animals. One wonders, then, why so many of them have such difficulty accepting that political affiliation is also non-binary.
Certainly, these friends grasp that one can vote for candidates who do not wear the (R) or (D) party label, and even act as an activist for their non-duopoly party of choice. But they still exhibit great difficulty with certain simple concepts: e.g., despising Hillary Clinton is not the same as admiring Donald Trump, or stating that Trump cannot be proven guilty of treason is not the same as stating that he is innocent of all wrong-doing.
I'm a peaceful man, but I hereby declare war on the Fallacy of False Alternatives. I am challenging it to a dualism, as it were.
This is where PDiddie takes over.
The duopoly cognitive dissonance has been in full flower lately. As Trump becomes more unhinged, as the Bernie Sanders/Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wing of the Democratic Party ascends, the Old Guard feels more threatened, gets more paranoid, and moves closer toward former (?) Republicans like James Comey. (Wasn't Comey the guy who did that thing with the letter that cost Hillary Clinton the election?)
Here's the Texas Progressive Alliance's roundup of blog posts and news from the week previous.
David Collins strongly advises those suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome and Russophobia to avoid watering the tree of liberty with hyperbole.
Socratic Gadfly offers detailed thoughts on Robert Mueller's indictment of the GRU 12 and what it does and does not say.
Somervell County Salon collects a few interesting bits and pieces about the hypocritical servility of John Bolton.
Well, I figured this Facebook post from last night, copied and pasted verbatim below, would ruffle a few feathers. So far it has ruffled only a few. It reflects my exasperation at the jaw-dropping and breathlessness people of various political stripes have exhibited in response to something our Dumpster-Fire-in-Chief said and/or did in Helsinki.
Per the US Constitution:
UPDATE: Glenn Greenwald takes to Twitter to resurrect a 2006 blog post of his that examines the problem of applying loose definitions to words like "treason."
Donald Trump says that he takes the word of Vladimir Putin over that of the US intelligence services. Trump is a habitual liar—and yet people are taking him at his word. The US intelligence services have a documented history of lying to the people and Congress to manufacture consent for wars and capitalist excesses abroad and domestically—and yet people are taking them at their word that Russia is up to the same old Cold War tricks (which, of course, the US has also played).
To quote the Worst President Ever, "Sad."
Even sadder is the dichotomous thinking I'm seeing among Democratic voters of my acquaintance: There are only two electoral alternatives, and anybody who votes for a third party is just a dangerous weirdo siphoning votes from the only two parties that actually exist. Everyone who voted for Johnson or Stein would have voted for Clinton in their absence. We can't talk about the greater numbers of Obama voters who switched to Trump. We can't talk about the even greater numbers in the big swing states who didn't vote at all.
If you're getting whipped into a lather over talk of treason, please stop, drop, and roll. Then take a few deep breaths, tell your lizard brain to calm the fuck down, and let your neocortex take over. As bad as Trump is, and as much as we'd like to see him gone, treason cannot be proven (yet). An impeachment process launched from some dipshit comments made at an international meeting of two elected tyrants will be a waste of time, money, energy, and human resources.
If the Mueller probe ever produces any actual evidence of actual malfeasance worthy of impeachment, I'm ready and willing to see it. Then it's just a matter of whether Republicans in Congress are willing to believe it. Meanwhile, if we must refresh the Tree of Liberty with the blood of this tyrant and his crew, let's make sure we're acting on something provable in a court of law. Acting on mere accusations is a recipe for decades of deadly ugliness.
If there's any "good" news to be found in the whole Shocked! Shocked, I say! kerfuffle, it's that establishment Republicans are turning on The Donald in greater numbers. It's no longer just the George Wills and the Bill Kristols, but Republicans who have run interference for him in the past, including his enablers on Fox News.
France won its second Men's World Cup yesterday, defeating a strong Croatian side 4-2. That's a lot of goals for a World Cup final, and some of them were just weird—especially the last one, with France and Tottehnam goalkeeper Hugo Lloris emulating Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius's boo-boo from the UEFA Champions League final, allowing Mario Mandžukić
to make up for his unfortunate own-goal in the first half. (It has since been revealed that Karius was unknowingly playing through a concussion suffered earlier in the match.)
The championship adds to the one from 1998, when France hosted the tournament. France will host next year's Women's World Cup, and I hope to travel there with my Francophile ladyfriend to catch the US Women in action (assuming that they qualify).
I wasn't actually rooting for France, and I predicted that Belgium would emerge on top. But Kayleen had it right all along, so congratulations to her and Les Bleus. We watched the final yesterday morning, merely talking about making a drinking game out of Fox commentators' constantly reminding us that Kylian Mbappe is a teenager, but not actually drinking anything until we washed down our lunch with snifters of Chambourd.
My inspiration for inserting all this France stuff into a Texas-focused weekly blogroll is the historical fact that France was among the few nations to recognize the newly minted Republic of Texas back in the 1830s. The two republics even had constructed makeshift embassies in each other's capitals; Houston was the capital of Texas at that time. Not that the short-lived Republic of Texas—or the way Anglo-Texians fought to make it slave territory—was anything for a Progressive like me to be proud of, but I do love this land that I've called home for most of my life.
This week's Texas Progressive Alliance roundup of lefty news and blog posts begin with two things that could happen that would improve the lives of Texans at large, and correspondingly Texas Democrats...which is why they won't.
Stephen Young at the Dallas Observer sees one thing Texas Republicans could do that would give more than a million Texans some insurance coverage.
Despite their elected officials' position, the majority of Texans support Medicaid expansion, according to a June poll from the same group that published Friday's report, the Kaiser Family Foundation. Sixty-four percent of Texans, according to the poll, believe that the state should accept federal cash to expand the low-income insurance program, with the same percentage agreeing that the state is "not doing enough to help low-income Texas adults get health care."
This is one of those bullet-point posts, I'm afraid, because these thoughts don't add up to a single coherent theme.
This is all I have left to say about last week's WTF—I hope. (In this case, WTF stands for Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.)
Anybody, regardless of political affinity or physical location, can sign up on the GPTX website to get email updates, to volunteer, or to donate. When you sign up, your name and any contact information you share go into the database. Being listed in the database does not make you a member; according to the GPTX Bylaws, you have to show up and participate in your local county party's meetings and activities, and attest that you are in general agreement with the Ten Key Values to be considered a member.
Voting Green also does not make one a member of any Green Party organization. Hundreds of thousands of Texas residents have voted for Green candidates just in the past few election cycles; however, are actual membership statewide runs in the low three digits.
Most of the dust has settled from last week's weirdness from San Antonio (parts one and two, plus link below) involving the Green Party of Texas. I'm hesitant even to mention it again, for fear of kicking up said dust, but I also believe that a brief post-mortem is in order. I'll post that in a bit. Meanwhile...
Here's the lefty blog post and news from around the Lone Star State.
Listicles were popular this week past; Stephen Young at the Dallas Observer has five reasons why Ken Paxton is the luckiest son of a bitch politician in the state.
5. Straight-ticket voting is here to clean up Paxton's mess.
I'm not vouching for the accuracy of either of these sources. I merely present them for your consideration, and to illustrate how acting on incomplete or unverified information can be destructive.
Right now, I'm really glad that I did not publish the damage-control article that I wrote for txgreens.org after my blog post from earlier today, because I did not have all the necessary facts. More information may yet spill out on this matter.
If it's true that Harris County Green Party Secretary Gavino Zárate spoke to Heavy on behalf of the entire state party, he committed a grievous no-no that can get him removed from office. Zarate. Per by-laws, only co-chairs are permitted to speak for the party as a whole.
If it's true that Kino Jiménez was responding angrily to some ugly racist talk about celebrating Independence Day with lynchings, as Raw Story reports, and it wasn't just some kid wearing an inflammatory ball cap, I can certainly understand his motivation without condoning his actions.
Dueling narratives and big-big drama. Regardless of who's right, Jiménez's name has been removed from the GPTX contact list. All he gave when he signed (or when he was signed up) was his name and a bogus email address, according to GPTX co-chair Wes Gaige.
This was my unofficial heads-up/statement on Facebook about the Kino Jiménez kerfuffle.
Some FB accounts (I'd say "some people" but I can't verify whether they are actual people or bots) are lighting up the Green Party of Texas page with accusatory comments about an incident at San Antonio Whataburger. A guy whose name appears in a GPTX NationBuilder contact list allegedly beat up a teenager & stole the young man's MAGA cap.
The Texas Progressive Alliance congratulates Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on their election victories, and has high hopes that Texas can elect progressives of their kind in the very near future.
Ocasio-Cortez's race will be interesting to watch over the next four mouths. She's running in a traditionally Democratic district in Queens, so victory in the general mostly depends on not doing anything monumentally stupid. Fortunately, she's pretty canny for a novice, and I don't foresee that happening. However, even though outgoing Rep. Joe Crowley has been all sweetness and light in defeat, I wouldn't put monumental stupidity past the DNC establishment, who still might back-door support Republican Anthony Pappas because goddess forbid a self-described "Democratic Socialist" should actually be elected to Congress.
Congratulations also to the coalition of groups that put together Satuday's Families Belong Together and Black Lives Matter marches in Houston. This was the most empowering protest I can remember, in any format or on any issue, since the Occupy days. But it's just a start. While the turnout Saturday was impressive for Houston, the numbers still need to increase. Beyond more warm bodies in the streets, demonstrators may have to get a bit less orderly to Make Fascists Afraid Again.
Here's the blog post and lefty news roundup from the week just passed.
Thousands protested at the Capitol in Austin and at hundreds of rallies across Texas and the nation against Trump's immigration policy that separates children from their parents.
As the immigration crisis—not a crisis at all, according to South Texas ranchers--morphs into a national one, even ICE investigation supervisors want to disassociate themselves from child detention and deportation. Paris Johnson at the Houston Press reminds us that the US has a long, ugly history of separating minority children from their families.
The US Supreme Court rulings in favor of Trump's Muslim travel ban, the gerrymandering by Texas Republicans, and the Janus decision against public sector unions made news, but it was Justice Anthony Kennedy's retirement that abruptly focused Democrats and liberals on their failures in 2016—not just Hillary Clinton's in November, but Barack Obama's and the Senate Democrats' spineless inability to force a vote on Merrick Garland—and in predictable fashion they blamed everyone but themselves (not just Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein in this go-around, but Susan Sarandon). Satire is most wicked when it is closest to the truth.
SocraticGadfly talked about the Supreme Court travel ban ruling, along with a bit about the other rulings of last week, and then analyzed Anthony Kennedy's career after he announced his retirement. He'll have a couple of additional Court posts in days and weeks ahead.
In politico news, Carlos Uresti went to prison; a freshly-scented Republican douchebag won a special election to replace the bloated, foul-smelling one previously inhabiting #TX27 for a couple of months; and Pages of Victory demonstrates how you should handle a Republican canvasser who comes knocking at your door.
Off the Kuff took a closer look at the UT/Trib June poll and thinks he found some good news for Democrats that the pollsters overlooked.
In his weekly compendium of criminal justice developments, Scott Henson at Grits for Breakfast blogged about the federal judge's ruling in Harris County's bail case, the outgoing DA in McClennan County (Waco) firing one of his assistants for cooperating with the FBI, and the DPS conflating traffic stops and immigration enforcement.
The Associated Press (via the HouChron) described in detail the course provided for Texas educators that teaches them how to shoot back at school shooters. A pro-gun rally last weekend in Santa Fe (TX), the site of the high school murders just over a month ago, was notable for its anemic turnout.
News about the media was news: Jon Tilove at the Statesman chronicled the life of one of the Annapolis Capitol-Gazette's journalists who was shot and killed at the newspaper's office by excerpting some of his columns (and adding his thoughts). And Texas Standard wonders why social media bosses are meeting with GOP leaders.
Somervell County Salon wrote about an anti-SLAPP case that prevailed at the Texas Supreme Court.
Stephen Young at the Dallas Observer covered the million-gallon sewage spill at White Rock Lake.
John Nielson-Gammon at the Texas Living Waters Project would like to see more of that old-fashioned variety in our summer weather.
Keep Austin Wonky wants city-owned land to maximize residents' happiness (whatever that means).
David Collins remembers Harlan Ellison, the noted sci-fi-author who passed away last week.
Harry Hamid notices how angry everyone is, but is working to avoid being that way.
And Dan Solomon at Texas Monthly bids adieu to the UT-adjacent location of Conan's Pizza.
Blogging Sporadically since 2014
Here you will find political campaign-related entries, as well as some about my literature, Houston underground arts, peace & justice, urban cycling, soccer, alt-religion, and other topics.